The Trump administration has barred US lawmakers from traveling on any government-owned and operated aircraft without explicit written approval from the White House chief of staff.
ABC News tweeted a copy of the memo, which was released by Office of Management and Budget acting director Russell T. Vought.
JUST IN: Acting OMB chief sends memo stating that "under no circumstances" during a shutdown should government aircraft be used to support a congressional delegation "without the express written approval of the White House Chief of Staff." https://t.co/SigkmrcM5T pic.twitter.com/SLASYMrr1I— ABC News (@ABC) 18 января 2019 г.
Earlier, President Trump took to Twitter, attacking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats for trying to take "a seven day excursion" abroad while 800,000 federal employees go unpaid due to the shutdown.
Why would Nancy Pelosi leave the Country with other Democrats on a seven day excursion when 800,000 great people are not getting paid. Also, could somebody please explain to Nancy & her “big donors” in wine country that people working on farms (grapes) will have easy access in!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 18 января 2019 г.
The tweet comes a day after Trump denied Pelosi the use of a military plane for a trip abroad after she demanded that he delay his State of the Union address.
"Due to the Shutdown, I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan has been postponed," Trump said in a curt letter. "I also feel that, during this period, it would be better if you were in Washington negotiating with me and joining the Strong Border Security movement to end the Shutdown," Trump added.
Also on Friday, Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Congresswoman Pelosi, said that in addition to blocking use of the military plane, the White House had also leaked the delegation's plans to fly commercially, thus scuttling the trip.
"This morning, we learned that the Administration had leaked the commercial travel plans as well…In light of the grave threats caused by the President's action, the delegation has decided to postpone the trip so as not to further endanger our troops and security personnel, or the other travelers on the flights," Hammill said.
The White House defended the decision, accusing Pelosi's staff of 'flat out lying.'
"When the Speaker of the House and about 20 others from Capitol Hill decide to book their own commercial flights to Afghanistan, the world is going to find out," the White House said in a statement. "The idea we would leak anything that would put the safety and security of any American at risk is a flat out lie," the statement added.
The dispute has led to what is now the longest government shutdown in US history, with 800,000 federal workers either working without pay or furloughed since 22 December. Numerous departments and agencies, including Homeland Security, Transportation, Justice, Commerce, State, Agriculture, Interior, the Treasury, Housing & Urban Development, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and others have been affected.
Trump and the Democrats have blamed each other's stubbornness for the crisis. The construction of the border wall was one of Trump's key campaign promises during the 2016 election.